Penny Patterson wanted to see if animals too could express themselves like humans, and examine if they had similar thoughts and feelings. Patterson first began working with Koko in 1972, teaching her sign language.
Learning American Sign Language
Koko was first loaned to Patterson when she was 1 years old for an interspecies communication research project at Stanford University. After teaching Koko some American Sign Language (ASL) successfully, she collaborated with fellow researcher Ronald Cohn. The duo co-founded The Gorilla Foundation which is a non-profit organization which aimed to officially adopt Koko and supports research efforts about the amazing gorilla.